China told Russia not to invade Ukraine during Winter Olympics, report says

Senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the New York Times reported, quoting Biden administration officials and a European official who cited a western intelligence report. The New York Times said the intelligence report indicated senior Chinese officials had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans or intentions to invade Ukraine before Moscow launched the operation last week. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that China had made the request but…

The Kamila Valieva case shows yet again that the IOC is betraying teen athletes

A fish rots from the head. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the head of the Olympic movement, and it is rotten to the core. Long ago, this vile organisation abandoned its stated principles of “excellence, friendship and respect” to embrace greed, corruption and abuse. For many, the enduring image of Bejing 2022 will not be one of Olympic glory, but the tragic and bizarre spectacle attending the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva. Once again, the Russians got caught cheating: Valieva tested positive for a…

‘Openly British’ Kenworthy signs off with criticism of IOC over human rights

The British freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, said on Saturday the International Olympic Committee should take a host nation’s stance on human rights issues into consideration when awarding the Games. Rights groups have long criticised the IOC’s choice of Beijing as 2022 host and several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, mounted diplomatic boycotts to protest against China’s treatment of its minority Muslim Uyghur population, which the US deems to be genocide. China denies allegations of human rights abuses. “I am absolutely a…

How citizenship row clouded Eileen Gu’s Olympics

Until recently, the US-born freestyle skier Eileen Gu – or Gu Ailing as she is known in China – was one of the rising numbers of Chinese Americans straddling the two countries. They are comfortable operating between the two cultures and systems, taking pride in their heritage as well as their upbringing. Gu, now 18, was born in San Francisco to an American father and a Chinese mother. She’s a big fan of Chinese dumplings and, every summer, she flew back to Beijing to attend cram school for mathematics. “When…

Hanbok at Beijing Winter Olympics opening sparks South Korean anger

China and South Korea have become embroiled in a cultural appropriation row after a woman appeared at the opening ceremony of the Beijing winter Olympics wearing traditional Korean dress. The Chinese embassy in Seoul defended the decision to include a participant wearing hanbok, describing her as a representative of the country’s dozens of ethnic groups. Her appearance sparked anger among many South Koreans, who denounced it as another attempt by China to claim parts of Korean culture – including its national dish, kimchi – as its own. The embassy described…

The Guardian view on Beijing’s Winter Games: a very political contest | Editorial

Sometimes it takes a single dazzling athletic feat to ignite the Olympic spirit. China’s Winter Games may yet capture the imagination of the world’s spectators. The Tokyo Olympics, though unpopular in Japan due to fears of Covid’s spread, provided welcome diversion for many. Even so, they lacked the energy of previous Games, and so far Beijing’s event is still more muted. Winter sports such as curling lack the broad appeal of sprinting or swimming. China’s commitment to a zero-Covid strategy has kept its citizens well away from the Games, and…

China to boost supply of Olympic panda mascots amid shortages

China’s Olympic committee has pledged to increase production of merchandise after unexpected demand from people looking for a way to get involved in the Games led to shortages of the local mascot. The official mascot, a panda named Bing Dwen Dwen wearing a transparent snow suit, has featured across the Games events and promotions. A large dancing Bing Dwen Dwen appeared in the opening ceremony, while plush toys have been held aloft by athletes on the podium. Its popularity has led to shortages of merchandise across retail outlets, exacerbated by…

UN’s Guterres says he expects China to let rights chief pay ‘credible’ visit to Xinjiang

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres told leaders in Beijing he expects them to allow UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet to make a “credible” visit to China including a stop in the Xinjiang region, his spokesman said on Saturday. Guterres met with Chinese president Xi Jinping and foreign minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics, according to a readout of their talks. The UN chief “expressed his expectation that the contacts between the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chinese authorities will allow…

China bags Winter Games gold and a rap for ‘cynical ploy’ of Uyghur torchbearer

Glory on the track. Growing criticism off it. China ended day one of these Winter Olympics by celebrating a thrilling first gold medal, while also finding itself facing growing condemnation from human rights groups after selecting a Uyghur to light the Olympic flame. The small number of fans in the Capital Indoor Stadium because of Covid-19 regulations certainly made themselves heard as China’s mixed relay quartet held off Italy by the width of a blade in a dramatic short-track speedskating final. Afterwards, Wu Dajing, the country’s most famous active winter…

Taiwan condemns ‘contemptible’ China-Russia partnership on eve of Olympics

Taiwan has condemned as “contemptible” the timing of China and Russia’s “no limits” partnership at the start of the Winter Olympics, saying the Chinese government was bringing shame to the spirit of the Games. China and Russia, at a meeting of their leaders hours before the Winter Olympics officially opened, backed each other over standoffs on Ukraine and Taiwan with a promise to collaborate more against the west. Russia voiced its support for China’s stance that democratically governed Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and opposition to any form…

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